HomeHealthDoes the new bivalent COVID booster have other side effects?

Does the new bivalent COVID booster have other side effects?

(NEXSTAR) — If you go to your local pharmacy or vaccination site, you’ll get a new type of COVID-19 shot these days. It is a bivalent booster shoot, meaning it includes parts of the original COVID-19 variant and the ommicron variant that became dominant in 2022.

The new formulation is designed to better protect you from the type of coronavirus circulating now, but does a new type of vaccine mean it will feel different?

“All the side effects of the bivalent booster (in clinical trials) were very similar to what we saw with the regular booster and even went back to the first vaccination,” said Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. , in a recent media briefing. “Usually it’s redness at the inoculation site, some soreness, feeling tired for a day or two — all the same side effects that we see in relatively the same degree with the bivalent booster.”

Other common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in adults — whether it’s the updated formula or not — include headache, fever, chills and nausea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In children, the most common side effects are a little different. In really young children, between 6 months and 3 years old, you often see pain at the injection site, as well as swollen lymph nodes, irritability, drowsiness or loss of appetite.

In children aged 4 to 17, the side effects are more similar to what adults see. Side effects in this age group are more common after the second dose, the CDC says.

The CDC says side effects are usually mild and go away within a day or two.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of two bivalent COVID-19 boosters. The Moderna shot is available for adults, while the Pfizer shot is available for those 12 years and older.

It’s hard to say how much better these boosters will protect us from the virus than the latest version, as testing of this exact recipe has only just begun in humans.

The FDA approved the new boosters, based largely on human studies of a similar modified vaccine just recommended by regulators in Europe. Those pinched shots target a previous strain of omicron, BA.1, that circulated last winter, and studies showed they revived people’s virus-fighting antibodies.

With that earlier ommicron version now replaced by BA.4 and BA.5, the FDA ordered an additional adjustment to the shots — and tests in mice showed they elicit an equally good immune response.

There is no way of knowing whether antibodies produced by an ommicron-matched booster can last more than a few months. But a booster would also boost the immune system’s memory, helping to protect against serious illness from the ever-mutating virus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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